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I was talking to a recent home buyer in the area, Don Jenkins of Amityville, NY. Being a recent home buyer myself I knew we'd have a lot in common. And I was right! Both of us felt as if the largest decision in our lives had just been made.
  He had some advice I thought was worthwhile. He highly recommended a workshop called HOME BUYERS HELPLINE for first time home buyers and he recommended using a buyer's broker!
He said the workshop taught him so much about buying a home, things he'd never have thought about. “And, the buyer's broker understood how I worked and worked around me,” he said.
I consider myself an educated individual and owe a lot of my education to being nosey, so I had to ask... "What did you learn?" He said he learned so many things and that so much of the information was helpful. I asked him to point out one or two things he felt made him a more savvy house hunter.
When pressed, Don told me that he had originally been looking for a two bedroom house with a realtor in Queens. "The HOME BUYERS HELPLINE Workshop teaches you a lot about the resale value of a house and that a two bedroom (home) is just not a hot commodity.”
But more importantly, Don felt it was necessary to clearly understand the relationship between a buyer, a seller, and the realtor. Don believed, as most people I encounter, that the more information a realtor knows about you the better. "I mean,” said Don, “they are supposed to be helping you buy a house.”
After the class he realized that you should never reveal all your cards to anyone. Realtors cannot get you a loan, so they don't need much financial information. In reality, all they need is to feel that you can afford a home in the range you are looking. If you give up too much financial information, it can be used against you.
Don had put offers on two homes prior to closing on his home now. The first house fell through before he took the class. Looking back, He feels pretty good about that. "Knowing what I know now... I am glad I didn't settle for the first thing I saw.”
The second house fell through more recently, and he was unhappy when he thought he was going to lose that one. Fortunately, the house he found afterward is perfect. "I couldn't ask for more," he said. He has 3 bedrooms, a garage, a big kitchen, big basement and a fabulous yard. It was, in his opinion, the best house he'd looked at.
The house he bought was only on the market one day before he saw it and made an offer. Don believes he has his house because of his realtor, a buyer's broker. His agent knew his schedule was tight and worked around him.
“He (the realtor) used to fax me a listing as soon as he got it. I'd usually drive by that day or the next. After looking at the outside, I could usually tell what the inside was going to look like. If a person manages the outside meticulously, the inside has got to be in great shape."
After a drive by, Don would call his broker and tell him he wanted to see it or that they were still looking. If Don wanted to look at a particular home, his realtor was able to arrange it, sometimes that very day. “That's how I got the house I bought, the system just works."
One thing Don said that I truly believe... "It takes a lot longer than you think to find the right home. Happy Hunting!
HOME BUYERS HELPLINE is the Non-Profit Information Center for Home Buyers